Human Interaction With Nature and Technological Systems Lab
(The HINTS Lab)

Peter Kahn Peter Kahn
Professor, Department of Psychology, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences 

Peter H. Kahn, Jr. is Professor in the Department of Psychology and the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, and Director of the Human Interaction with Nature and Technological Systems (HINTS) Laboratory at the University of Washington. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the academic journal Ecopsychology. His research seeks to address two world movements that are powerfully reshaping human existence: (1) The degradation if not destruction of large parts of the natural world, and (2) unprecedented technological development, both in terms of its computational sophistication and pervasiveness. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. His publications have appeared in such journals as Science, Developmental Psychology, Human-Computer Interaction, Environmental Health Perspectives, Child Development, and Journal of Systems Software, as well as in such proceedings as CHI, HRI, and Ubicomp. His 5 books (all with MIT Press) include Technological NatureAdaptation and the Future of Human Life (2011).

Duong Thi Bich Ngoc
Senior Lecturer and Researcher, Vietnam National University of Forestry;
and Fulbright Scholar in the HINTS lab at the University of Washington

Dr. Duong Thi Bich Ngoc is currently a Fulbright Scholar in the HINTS lab, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, and Department of Psychology, at the University of Washington. Together with Professor Peter Kahn and Katie Navidi, she seeks to address the critical problem of deforestation through the lens of Environmental Generational Amnesia. She obtained her master’s degree in environmental science at Unesco-IHE, Delft, and her Ph.D in forest conservation policy at the Institute for Science in Society, Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherland. Her publications have appeared in such journals as Forest Policy and Economics, Ecopsychology, Land, and CIFOR infobriefs.

Thea WeissThea Weiss
Ph.D. Student, Department of Psychology

Thea Weiss is currently a doctoral student in Developmental Psychology at the University of Washington. She received dual B.A.’s (2014) in Neuroscience and English Literature from the University of Southern California. She has done research in emotion and cognition as well as theory of mind, and has worked as both a certified personal trainer and as a Registered Behavior Technician assisting children with Autism. The questions now guiding her research center upon the precarious position humanity finds itself in as a result of our technological affordances and conveniences. She seeks to understand the human condition through two primary research trajectories: 1) The technological mediation of nature through Virtual and Augmented Reality, and 2) The human interaction with artificial agents embodied in robotic and virtual forms. As the human relationship to the physical and social world is progressively mediated through technology, an understanding of the developmental implications for such a paradigm shift in the lived experience of the human mind and body becomes increasingly necessary.

Carly GrayCarly Gray
Ph.D. Student, Department of Psychology

Carly Gray is a third-year doctoral student in Developmental Psychology at the University of Washington. Her research interests center upon the physiological and mental health effects of young people’s interaction with nature, especially in terms of the development of emotion regulation, coping, and resilience. Her current research projects include a longitudinal investigation of the effects of time spent in nature during Covid-19 on young girls’ health and psychological well-being, as well as the conceptual and empirical investigation of a meaningful state of being we expect can readily occur in nature, Presence. In the future, she hopes to compare young people’s interactions with technology and technological nature to interactions with actual nature. Previously, Carly has been a research assistant on an intervention study on family communication and conflict resolution, worked in adolescent inpatient mental health treatment, and worked as a multi-day kayak guide for a non-profit working with adolescents and young adults.

Sarena SabineSarena Sabine
Ph.D. Student, Department of Psychology

Sarena Sabine is a second-year doctoral student in Developmental Psychology at the University of Washington. She graduated with honors from Bowdoin College in 2019 with a major in Psychology and Environmental Studies. She then worked as a Research Associate in Psychology at Bowdoin College, where she found that a multi-week nature imagery intervention benefited students’ well-being. She has also been involved in research collaborations on the mental health effects of Covid-19 on college students, and the role of pedagogical instruction on children’s ecological thinking and behavior. Her current research interests revolve around understanding the psychological impacts of immersive experiences in nature, and the implications of mental states elicited from these experiences. With plans to pursue a minor in Quantitative Psychology, she is also interested in scale development and is currently working with the HINTS Lab to develop a scale for a new construct, Presence, that may be relevant to the growing Nature and Health field.

Chrystal Dunker Chrystal Dunker
Ph.D. Student, Environmental Studies, Antioch University New England

Chrystal Dunker is a doctoral student in Environmental Studies at Antioch University New England. A former executive director of a regional non-profit environmental education center in southern Minnesota, she brings her love of teaching and working with youth while exploring the natural world to her studies on human-nature connection. Her research interests draw from the theoretical fields of ecopsychology, environmental psychology and conservation psychology and are focused on the therapeutic, if not essential, psychological and physiological well-being outcomes derived from a human-nature relationship particularly for children and especially for those considered at-risk. Her interest in working with Dr. Peter Kahn and the HINTS Lab centers on how nature interaction patterns and an associated nature language can be applied to the design and evaluation of nature-based educational programs. She is fundamentally interested in exploring what having a nature language and associated interaction patterns allow us to communicate to others about the importance of a human-nature bond in light of an increasing decline in children's experience with natural environments and the implications for human flourishing.

Edison (Yumeng) Qian
Master’s Student, College of Education

Yumeng is a Master’s student in Learning Sciences & Human Development at the University of Washington. He received his B.S. in Psychology and B.A. in Education, Community, and Organization from the University of Washington. In his honors Psychology thesis, Yumeng found that with a Chinese group of high school students, experiencing virtual reality of bountiful nature (vs. a window view of urban meagre nature) improved attention and reduced psychological stress. Yumeng is also interested in culturally relevant pedagogy, and aims to help educators build culturally diverse and culturally safe environments for students. He believes that nature and culture are two closely connected essential elements of people’s lives, and perceives culture as the nature of human beings. Yumeng hopes his research can help people preserve natural environments and cultural diversity.

Audryana Nay
Master's Student, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences

Audryana is a Master's student at the University of Washington in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. Her research interests are focused on fostering deep and authentic human-nature interaction in an increasingly city-focussed world. For her Master's thesis, Audryana is using Kahn's Interaction Pattern Theory to create an artificial intelligence program that can predict human-nature interaction in a given landscape. In her free time, Audryana enjoys practicing yoga, dancing, and playing with her dog.

Carina Croitoru

Aditya Gunawan
Undergraduate Student, Department of Psychology

Aditya Gunawan is a senior undergraduate student at the University of Washington, pursuing a B.S. in psychology. Interested in the interplay between psychology and business, Aditya hopes to explore how concepts in positive psychology can bring about more productive and collaborative teams in the workplace built on trust and empathy. In the HINTS lab, Aditya is reviewing psychological literature that can impact our mental health and well-being, inspired by one simple question: "What makes our lives worth living?" In his free time, you can find Aditya intertwining classical music and jazz with his two instruments (guitar and piano), cooking new recipes, and training for his upcoming half-marathon.

Ken Kavin
Undergraduate Student, Department of Psychology

Ken Kavin is a trilingual second-year undergraduate student pursuing his B.A. in Psychology at the University of Washington. Ken is working as a research assistant in the HINTS Lab, helping to create a psychological scale to measure Presence. Presence has been shown, both in his life and literature, to positively correlate with improved mental health and well-being. He, therefore, strives to put forward a vision of what human consciousness can be, and share insights on this state of being with the world. Ken is also particularly interested in how Presence relates to different forms of meditative practices and is most intrigued by the theoretical and philosophical discussion of Presence and its scale development. His goal in Psychology is to bring humanity back to those whose voices have been robbed due to stigmatization and advocate for inclusion and diversity in all its forms. Outside of the lab, you may find Ken meticulously setting quicks, soulfully acting on stage, ferociously debating resolutions, or devotedly filming his directorial debut.

Katie Navidi
Undergraduate Student, Department of Comparative History of Ideas

Katie Navidi is an interdisciplinary student at UW, and will soon complete her degree in the Comparative History of Ideas with concentrations in Psychology and Global health. Since joining the HINTS lab in 2020, she has been contributing to multiple projects through scale development, cognitive interviews, reliability coding, participant recruitment, and literature reviews. Her primary research focus is the psychological state of Presence, which was the topic of her undergraduate senior thesis, advised by Dr. Kahn. She is interested in the ways of being in and relating to nature, and deepening those. In the face of rapid climate change, and technological advancements, she hopes to promote reciprocal healing and flourishing for Earth and all inhabitants.

Sofia Redondo
Undergraduate Student, Department of Psychology

Sofia Redondo is an honors undergraduate pursuing her B.S. in Psychology with an emphasis in development and clinical psychology. Sofia is particularly interested, from a developmental perspective, in how children adapt to monumental and challenging life experiences. Through the HINTS Lab, Sofia seeks to understand how development and mental wellness are affected by one’s experiences in nature. She hopes to discover more about how important nature interaction is to one’s mental being and overall development. In her free time, Sofia loves cheering on the Huskies at sports games and exploring all the restaurants and sights in Seattle with her friends.

Montana Thoroughman
Undergraduate Student, Department of Psychology

Montana Thoroughman is an undergraduate student at the University of Washington, pursuing a degree in Environmental Science and Resource Management as well as a minor in Quantitative Science. Through the HINTS Lab, she hopes to gain a deeper understanding of human-nature interactions and the importance of these on our psychological well-being. She is excited to dive further into researching how we can begin to foster a better relationship with our Earth to promote positive psychological states, focusing on Indigenous cultures and their perspectives on the interconnectedness between humans and nature. This past summer, she worked to educate her community on the importance of spending time in nature through environmental youth programs as well as guided kayak tours in local waters and bioluminescent bays.

Louie Zagula
Undergraduate Student, Department of Psychology

Louie Zagula is a fourth year undergraduate student pursuing his B.A. in Psychology at the University of Washington. Intent on a career in mental health, he interned at the Harborview Medical Respite Center, working directly with Seattle’s homeless population. Through the HINTS Lab, Louie seeks to understand how substance use and addiction interact with states of Flow and Presence. In his free time, Louie enjoys rock climbing and playing guitar.

Friends & Collaborators [top]
Alan Borning, University of Washington
Alan Beck, Purdue University
Sybil Carrère, University of Washington
Nancy Edwards, Purdue University
Batya Friedman, University of Washington
Brian Gill, Seattle University
Hiroshi Ishiguro, Osaka University (Japan)
Takayuki Kanda, Advanced Telecommunications Research (Japan)
Rosie Maier, University of Oregon
Gail Melson, Purdue University
Gene Myers, Western Washington University
Carol Saunders, Brookfield Zoo
Paul Waddell, University of Washington
Pat Hasbach, Lewis & Clark College
John Lin, University of Washington

Student Alumni [top]
Elizabeth Lev
Yushan Tong
Marco Ammatelli
Shiqi Xian
Zoe Zou
Nathan Aberg
Irene S. Alexander
Jeffrey Anderson
Annie Jo Cain
Louise Wun Choi
Kathleen Crosman
Janet Davis — homepage, dissertation
Dan Dethloff
Lorin Dole
Erika Feldman
Erin Fowler
Nathan G. Freier — homepage, dissertation
Heather Gary
Andrew Gueter
Nicole Gustine
Jennifer Hagman
Ann Hendrickson
Cassie Ho
Nicole Jensen
Margaret Keers
Peter Kohring
Sze Ying Kong
Zak Lee
Peyina Lin
Karen Magnuson
Nick McMillan
Jesse McPherron
Hannah Piatok
Grace Preyapongpisan
Brandon Rich
Jolina Ruckert
Alan Rumpel
Amanda Ryan
Jonathan Sabo
Scott Santens
Ari Serim
Rachel Severson — homepage
Solace Shen
Robin Sodeman
Cady Stanton
Tyler Stevens
Anna Stolyar
Amy Taylor
David Wisner
Xinglu Yao
Taylor Koch
Yongzhi Li
Allyson Ylvisaker
Honson Ling
Hanzi Chen
Amanda Zhu
Ling-Wai Lam
Claire Zhang

Last updated: Wednesday, 11-May-2022
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